£500m Cost Of Staying In The EU

An independent Scotland faces an additional £500 million annual bill to stay in the European Union, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown will tell the European Parliament.

Scotland would lose its share of the UK rebate, worth £2 billion over seven years, and then have to pay into the UK rebate at a cost of £540 million over the same period, Mr Brown will say in a speech entitled "Independence and Interdependence''.

"As part of the UK, the contribution made by Scottish taxpayers to the EU budget over 2014-20 would be around £8.5 billion,'' he said.

"But it is estimated that an independent Scottish state would contribute a total of around £11 billion to the EU budget over the same seven-year period.

"The difference is that Scotland would lose the benefit from the UK rebate - £2 billion over seven years.

"Ironically, they would also have to contribute to the UK rebate - about £540 million over seven years.

"This gives a total additional direct cost to Scottish taxpayers of around £2.5 billion or £935 per household over 2014-20.

"This means that while Scotland's membership of the EU through being a member of the UK is worth £350 million a year extra to Scottish taxpayers, this would be lost. ''

Negotiations over common agricultural policy payments and structural funds could also see Scotland's EU bill rise, he added.

"Under less optimistic scenarios, an independent Scottish state could see its CAP and total receipts fall substantially, with the deterioration in net contributions over 2014-20 rising to as much as £3.7 billion or £1,400 per household compared with the situation if Scotland were to remain part of the UK.

"This could mean that Scotland's membership of the EU as part of the UK is worth £500 million a year more than as an independent state.''

The speech will be introduced by former European Parliament President and leader of the Socialists and Democrats Martin Schulz, and is chaired by Scottish MEP David Martin

Mr Martin said: "The prospect of Scottish independence has serious implications for the EU and for many Member States who have secessionist movements of their own.''

A spokesman for the First Minister said Mr Brown has "undermined'' the pro-Union campaign over the last couple of weeks.

"With this latest intervention he has simply reminded people in Scotland what a poor deal they currently get from Westminster in relation to the EU,'' the spokesman said.

"Our farmers have lost out on one billion euros as a result of Westminster's decisions on CAP funding, and the UK Government notoriously described Scotland's fishing industry as 'expendable.'

"An independent Scotland will have its own seat and voice at the top table in Europe for the first time, making sure we get a far better deal - a better deal which Gordon Brown comprehensively failed to achieve for Scotland when he had the power to do so.''

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